In an article published by JAMA in 2006, a group of researchers studied adults older than 50 years and developed a “prognostic index” that seemed to predict your chance of death within four years based on whether you had certain health problems and functional problems.
The study looked at patients’ gender, age, whether they had any of some particular diseases and behaviors such as smoking, cancer, etc.; It also asked if patients had certain functional capabilities, such as ability to pull or push heavy objects, walking several blocks. The researchers were then able to predict which patients were at risk of dying in the next four years, based on how they answered these questions.
By knowing your risk of mortality, you may help plan health care with your physician by making lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking or taking up exercise, improving management of some of your diseases, etc.